EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Leslie Orzetti

Dr. Orzetti joined OCCA as Executive Director in 2016 with a wealth of experience in natural resource conservation, having worked in the Chesapeake Bay watershed for over 20 years.   Prior to joining OCCA, Dr. Orzetti served as an Assistant Professor of Biology at Northern Virginia Community College and as an Adjunct Professor at George Mason University. She taught graduate and undergraduate courses in biology, applied ecology, and watershed management, and developed an undergraduate-level environmental law course.  Prior to serving as a professor, Dr. Orzetti served as a Fish and Wildlife Biologist for the District of Columbia and as the Senior Scientist at Ecosystem Solutions, Inc., a small non-profit in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that focused on restoration, conservation and education.  She also served as a contractor for the Department of Defense Legacy Resource Management Program, a natural and cultural resource conservation program benefiting military lands.  Dr. Orzetti attended the University of Dayton where she earned her B.S. and M.S. in Biology, and George Mason University where she earned her Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Policy.  Her research interests are in aquatic ecology and the impacts the watershed can have on the water environment. She lives in Cooperstown with her husband and two children.

PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Jeff O’Handley

OCCA Welcomes New Program Director-2013

A long-standing interest in nature and animals led Jeff O’Handley to a degree in Wildlife Management from Cook College, Rutgers University. After a summer job at a local natural history museum, O’Handley discovered a love for environmental education. Over the next 15 years he taught thousands of people in such diverse environments as a state park located on Long Island’s “Gold Coast”; the heart of New York City; and the black widow-infested woods of East Hampton. O’Handley moved to Hartwick in 2003 and formed Wildlife Learning Company with his wife, Susan. They soon became a familiar sight, bringing permanently-injured birds of prey along with a small collection of turtles, snakes, frogs, and marine invertebrates to schools, libraries, and special events. The O’Handleys worked closely with the Otsego County Conservation Association to develop Burn Barrel Biology, a school program focusing on the hazards of trash burning, and on events such as Earth Festival and Lake Festival. Jeff O’Handley joined OCCA in October, 2013. He is looking to expand the EcoTeam program and to establish closer relationships with schools throughout the county.

ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNER
Danny Lapin

OCCA Taps Lapin for Planner Position-2014

Danny Lapin joined the Otsego County Conservation Association staff as environmental planner in June of 2014, upon completion of his masters’ in environmental policy. Lapin brings a passion for advocacy and sound environmental planning. Among many other skills, Lapin brings a strong background in water resource management, economics, environmental law and planning to the table. He grew up in Sunnyvale, California and graduated from the University of California-Riverside with a bachelor’s in environmental science while working for the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board as a water quality specialist from 2009-2011. After completing his undergraduate studies, Lapin attended Bard College in the Hudson Valley focusing his graduate research on connecting local land-use practices with regional water management efforts. Lapin has held two planning positions in the Sierra Nevada Region of Eastern California, as a land-use planning fellow with the League to Save Lake Tahoe and as a Regional Climate Change Fellow with the Sierra Nevada Alliance from 2013-2014. Lapin focused on directly working with planners and regional water managers to ensure that the natural resources of the Sierra were protected. At Bard, Lapin was involved in a multitude of volunteer activities and was heavily engaged in the local community. As a result, he was recognized with the Aldo Leopold Award which is given to students who exemplify strong leadership and a dedication to community service. A resident of Springfield Center, Lapin seeks to bring his passion for community service to OCCA. In his spare time, he enjoys dancing, playing basketball, reading and swimming.